Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Messy Church, June 2014, at Hanwell Carnival!

We had a fab Messy Church at Hanwell Carnival for our June event, and hundreds of families passed through our tent from 12 noon till 6pm. It was a beautiful sunny day so families stayed around to picnic and enjoy the day. A special treat for us was that Lucy Bridges who, with her sister Amy was baptized by full immersion in the car-park at Messy Church last September, was a Carnival Princess.

Our theme was Noah’s Ark and our tent was decorated with a large rainbow and rainbow coloured streamers and we entered through a gangplank type roped off area. Our Messy Church Banner fronted the tent and we gave away handouts with St Mary’s and Messy Church information inside.

Inside the tent we painted a large cardboard model of the Ark- such a wonderful sludgy mess with rollers and brushes and plenty of gloopy paint. We made doves with cut-out handprints for wings and tails and many different types of animal face masks. We told the story as the children worked and gave everyone a colourful story handout with a colouring picture on the back.

This wasn’t just about being Messy Church at the Carnival or selling Messy Church; it was about being in the midst of the community as believing, serving followers of Jesus- and what a joy it was!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Loving Our Neighbour - May 2014

“Loving our neighbour” was our theme this month, inspired by the opening of the Hanwell Foodbank Cafe. Our congregation brought offerings of food for the foodbank and we made up gifts of small food items and toiletries to give out to clients. Our worship centred on the story Jesus told in Mattthew 25 about people who fed the hungry, gave a drink to thirsty, welcomed the stranger, clothed the naked, healed the sick or visited the prisoners. Whenever they did those things it was as if they were doing it to Jesus.

Our crafts and games were all on these themes and in our worship we used adults as the suffering ones and the children ministered to them with things they had made. One of our grannies enjoyed her time in a cardboard prison receiving cards with loving messages about Jesus. 

The children loved bandaging the wounded and giving them injections! We sang  "When I needed a neighbour, were you there” and prayed for the suffering and our generous response to them. Then our own tea!

Monday, 28 April 2014

Messy Church - Easter 2014

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

Messy Church met on Easter Saturday this year so our Easter Celebration was especially exciting and poignant. Our craft and activity time involved making chocolate nests, decorating a large cross with resurrection signs (coloured ribbon and greenery), making drums to accompany our Easter story procession, putting together an Easter garden, bulb panting,  making crosses from sticks, a bulb/flower treasure hunt (with the message “God is love” to be found) and various games on the “egg” theme.

For our celebration we acted out the story of the Last Supper (sharing bread together), the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, the road to the Cross, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. As the journey unfolded we drummed with special rhythms for each part of the story. Everyone was thoroughly engaged and joyfully drummed shouting “Alleluia” when Rex, our Jesus, emerged from the tent/tomb. We gathered around the Easter Garden, lit the Paschal Candle and said prayers of thanks to Jesus. One mum prayed “Thanks Jesus for Messy Church”. Our Messy church family love to come and learn more about Jesus whilst having a great time!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

March Messy Church - Jesus in the Wilderness

Our theme today was the Temptations of Jesus in the Wilderness.

In the big hall, we had lots of games which were tests of skill, daring or choices, including the most splendid and messy obstacle course which ran the whole length of the hall and into the vestibule. There were various craft activities in the small hall all related to the theme, including making an invitation to our Easter Messy Church on 19th April.

We acted out the story of the three temptations of Jesus in our worship time – keeping the score between his choice for God and his choice for the devilish powers of darkness and cheering mightily when Jesus’ choice for God won the day!

All the children and adults had a stone which symbolised their prayer that they too would choose for God and holding their stone repeated the following prayer.

Lord, we come to you, with our messy lives.
Lord, you come to us and share in our mess.
Lord, who on the cross was messed up for us,
Help us with your love, heal this messy world.

Then we all quietly put our stones to make the shape of the cross, as a symbol of our prayer.

February's Messy Church - The Parable of the Lost Son

Another wet Saturday in our wet winter but St Mary’s Church Hall was bustling with excited families. We were telling the Jesus’ story of the Lost Son and in the big hall we had three areas to help us when we acted out the story in our worship time.
The father’s house was a gazebo full of tables laden with goodies so the families could make fruit cocktails and decorated biscuits- a truly hospitable home. In the fenced off garden there were games to play with fruit and veg. In the story the son asks the father for his inheritance and goes to seek his fortune in the world.

The second gazebo was a party tent with balloons, special lighting, party music and loads of shredded paper for messy partying. It is here the son loses all his money in riotous living! Then he goes to look after pigs - a wonderful messy pigsty with gloopy mess to play in and paint with. The son realises his father’s servants have a better life and more food than he does, so he goes home full of sorrow, only to be greeted lovingly by his father, who orders a celebration. The one who was lost is found!
In our worship the lost one was acted out by all the children, and their parents were friends who accompanied them on the journey to discover how much the God the Father loves his children even if they make a great mess of their lives; and of course our celebration meal followed.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Next Messy Church - 15th February 2014

The next Messy Church at St Mary's will be on Saturday the 15th of February, at St Mary's Church Hall, Greenford Avenue, Hanwell.

This month's theme is "The Prodigal Son", and we look forward to seeing you there!

Messy Church, 18th January 2014

The theme for this Messy Church was “Communication”, with each other and with God, and it certainly had an interesting and different flavour!

 David, our friend who is interested in history, brought along lots of artefacts from down the ages to do with communication, which fascinated everyone. He even provided an ancient reel to reel projector which showed a black and white news summary of the year 1936. We had a cubby hole as a cinema and even had popcorn.

There were messages to God pinned on the ceiling of a darkened tent to be searched for using torches and an opportunity to write blog messages for Messy Church using an overhead projector.

Of course we did the usual craft activities too:- making signalling flags, masks with various facial expressions, flicker books, cup phones and writing with invisible ink.

Our worship was interactive and involved all ages in practising prayer by saying Thanks, Sorry and Please when we pray to God.

We had a very lively Messy Church, yet with some quiet moving moments too when we were praying for our sick friends and relatives, and when the adults lit candles in a circle whilst a group sang “This little light of mine”. Tea time is always a great time to chat and catch up.